This year’s hurricane season is expected to be below normal, with 6 to 11 named storms. But, as MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, Mississippi emergency officials are urging residents not to let that prediction change how they prepare.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there’s about a 70 percent change its forecast of a below normal season will be correct. But here's Greg Flynn's take on these forecasts.
"Means absolutely nothing," he says. "It doesn't matter if they say there's going to be 30 storms or one storm. We have to prepare the same."
Flynn, a spokesman with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, says even one bad storm can make for a terrible hurricane season.
"Every storm is different. We can't say it's just a tropical storm or just a Cat 1, because they can bring a lot of different elements - tornadoes, heavy rainfall," he says. "There's no reason, in this day and age, we should lose one life during hurricane season, because we know when they're coming, we know we can get you out of harm's way - if you have a plan."
Major Sean Cross is a pilot with the Hurricane Hunters, who fly into tropical storms from their home base in Biloxi to collect data that helps create storm track predictions. Cross says that makes residents' decisions on whether to evacuate personal for him.
"We're risking our lives, we're out there collecting the data to improve the forecast's accuracy and get the warnings out to people, and some people just don't take it serious," he says.
Cross too urges residents to heed warnings and to not let themselves be lulled into a false sense of security based on the experience of previous storms.
"Who knows what the next storm will be like that will hit the Gulf Coast - it could be a lot stronger than Katrina," he says. "We just never will know that until it happens. But when it is in-bound, you have to listen to the experts, and if they tell you to evacuate, you really have to listen to them."
Hurricane season begins this Monday.